I'm not, it is probably obvious, a trained painter. I'm pretty much self-taught and although I always enjoyed and was praised for my art when a kid the obsession to really get at it only fully struck me quite late in the day, at the most inconvenient time for such a messy obsession to install itself. Paint was in short my pregnant craving. No, I didn't have any really strong desire to eat it but all of a sudden, back in 1983, when I was living (believe it or not) in a little Greek pigeon house under a mulberry tree on Mykonos (Vienoula's Garden for those who know ;-)) and just going into my second trimester for my adored son - suddenly PAINT. Oh I had to have it. Along with paint there was also Welsh Mints (not easy to obtain in the Greek Islands even now) and Opera, a form of music I had hitherto had absolutely zero interest in seeing as dancing to New York House DJ's in Pierro's was more my style at the time. I remember I got hold of some paint, tape of Carmen, some Caran D'Ache crayons and on one of those ersatz canvas pads made some sloppy efforts at abstracts. I hadn't a clue what I was about.
I had known artists growing up as a tiny child in the late 50s. If you remember the Stella Artois advert where the bar owner is grumbling about taking all these payments of paintings in return for his fabulous beer (little realising that he is collecting a future king's ransom in masterpieces) it was a bit like that with my folks who had a club on the King's Road Chelsea in London. We didn't acquire any Van Gogh's or Gauguin's unfortunately but I did get to visit various studios of artists of the day and The Gateways was quite renowned for the paintings that adorned the walls (not many photos of them remain, I do have a few and will get them out and publish them here when it gets cooler).
So the smell of oils was an early memory (though I find linseed almost intolerable as it happens and when I was pregnant it was out of the question). The Chelsea artists of the days loved earthy colours. As one whose childhood and teens were in the 60s I developed a strong attraction to the clear and vivid colours of The Beatles' Yellow Submarine. I also unusually enough grew up with American comics provided by someone close who was at the time a servicewoman stationed the AAF base in Ruislip and could therefore shop at the PX there. So Superman, Casper the Ghost, Green Lantern and Flash were my heros. In those days of course they were simply printed on comicbook paper but the colours were rich and the covers of each edition were a weekly treat. I loved them.
So it has taken me a good many years to light upon a memory of the particularly resonant sludgy blue-green-grey-gold-brown that underpinned those art pieces I remember from my earliest years. Over the past few years I have only painted in my mind. Some would say that's not enough and I would agree with them. However it has had to do. You'd be amazed how much time I have spent dreaming up versions of that strangely vivid sludge. I have some big plans in that direction. More soon...